Some readers of this column were perhaps at the National Quartet Convention the year Vestal Goodman suddenly left her front row seat and climbed the steps of the stage to pray for a man who had been asked to sing. That man was the gifted singer-songwriter-minister, Cleavant Derricks.
Derricks had been brought there from the hospital and was asked to sing one of his great songs, “JUST A LITTLE TALK WITH JESUS,” found on page 92 in “the old Red Back book” Church Hymnal. But I’m told each time Derricks attempted to sing that night, he could not even utter a sound.
Although I was not there that year, relatives of mine who were there said Vestal moved with great urgency and seemed to “be carried” up the steep, narrow steps to the stage to make her way to pray for Derricks, who had been wheeled on stage in a wheelchair.
Without a doubt, Vestal was led of the Lord to pray for this noted songwriter, as was witnessed by the many thousands present that night. After she had laid her hands on Derricks, she called out to God in prayer – as only Vestal Goodman could pray – “Lord, in the Name of JESUS, let this man sing tonight!”
After Vestal prayed, Derricks began to sing as strong as if nothing had hindered his voice, and he sang it all from start to finish. Everyone there that night got a first-hand look at answered prayer!
Oh –– did I fail to tell you that several network TV cameras “just happened” to be there that night and recorded everything just told to all of viewing America?
That incident was living proof of the message of Derricks’ exceptional Gospel song, that “just a little talk with Jesus” by a Godly person can indeed make a positive difference. Vestal’s obedience to God, her fervency in prayer, and the touch of God on Derricks’ life that night made great proof of that!
My Mom was one of my family members present that night, and during a time of intermission she happened to overhear a couple of ladies speaking of what had just taken place onstage. With all seriousness in her voice, one lady told the other: “I don’t understand what that was all about, but one thing I know, I know it was REAL!” And she was right!
Cleavant Derricks was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee on May 13, 1910. Like many others in Gospel music, he never achieved great fame or fortune, but Derricks’ songs did greatly minister to people, as they still do throughout the world today.
Whether one faced the Great Depression (near the era of time this song was written), or for those facing depressing times such as these, the message of this song is still relevant to all believers. We’re all reminded through Derricks’ song that each day we need a fervent talk with JESUS.
Many of us have been blessed to grow up in churches singing Derricks’ other songs in the Church Hymnal; songs like “We’ll Soon Be Done with Troubles and Trials” (page 30) and “When God Dips His Love in My Heart” (page 138).
Yet the third of his songs found in this “old Red Back book” is sung and recorded perhaps more often than any other. In fact, the number of Southern Gospel groups who have recorded “Just A Little Talk With Jesus” exceed sixty groups, making the listing of their names in this writing totally impossible.
Just when others around you would try to convince you God does not answer prayers today, you suddenly feel renewed assurance come on you when your church begins to sing or you hear a Southern Gospel group sing the first verse which says: “I once was lost in sin….” You may even stop a moment to reflect how you felt when you were so lost in sin, but rejoice to know “JESUS took me in….”
That same verse continues with “…and then a little light from Heaven filled my soul…” What a glorious time it was, but that’s not all for “…It bathed my heart in love – and wrote my name above…” Just think about it! As one saved, your name is written in Heaven! And because one day you made a trip to the altar, you can truly add, “…and just a little talk with Jesus made me whole.”
Verse 2 reveals that “Sometimes my path…” [YOUR path too] “…seems drear, WITHOUT a ray of cheer, and then a cloud of doubt may hide the light of day…” Verse 3 continues this thought by telling “I may have doubts and fears, my eyes be filled with tears…” –– [been there – done that, how about YOU?], “…BUT JESUS is a Friend Who watches day and night…”
We’re then reminded that we can “go to Him in prayer” because “He knows my (your) EVERY care…” And the same is told in 1 Peter 5:7 (Amplified Bible) where it is said we can cast “…the whole of your care [ALL your anxieties, ALL your worries, ALL your concerns, once and for ALL] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.”
Thoughts of “Just A Little Talk With Jesus” are more than mere words encouraged in a Sunday morning sermon or on a Saturday night Gospel music stage. There is great truth found in this song!
With that said, “[NOW let us] Have a little talk with Jesus, [let us] tell Him ALL about our troubles, [He will] Hear our faintest cry [and He will] answer by and by; [Now when you] Feel a little prayer wheel turning [Then you’ll] know a little fire is burning, [You will] Find a little talk with Jesus makes it right.”